#241 “Conspiracy of Catilin” 


Title: Map of a Swiss codice that contains the “Conspiracy of Catilin” and the “Jugurthine War”by Sallust

Author: Unknown

Date: 1420

Location: Genève, Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms lat. 54, p. 34v

This map is found in a 1420 manuscript book that contains instructions on how to illustrate the Conspiracy of Catiline and the Jugurthine War. Miniature illuminations in grisaille were added by Bedford-Meister and assistants in his workshop, followed by a commentary by Jean Lebègues, who wrote a guide to the illustration of historical scenes in the above-named works of Sallust in 1417. During the 17th century the manuscript was owned by the Petau family. In 1720 Ami Lullin of Geneva purchased the codex and donated it to the Bibliothèque de Genève in 1756. It measures 31.5 x 22 cm.


Lelewel, Joachim Géographie du Moyen Age. Atlas composé de cinquante planches, Bruxelles, 1850 (Plate XXXV).

Byrne, Donal, “An early french humanist and Sallust: Jean Lebègue and the iconographical programme for the Catiline and Jugurtha”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, volume 49 (1986), p. 41-65 and Plates, p. 13-21.

Von den Brincken, Anna-Dorothee, Studien zur Universalkartographie des Mittelalters, Herausgegeben von Thomas Szabo, Göttingen, 2008 (pp. 307, 397, 698, 703; color Plate 66).

Last Updated: 7 October 2014

This map, like many maps of the European medieval period, is oriented with East at the top. However, Paradise is not displayed at the top where the three great rivers are shown. Gog and Magog are mentioned behind substantial enclosures in Asia, the Caspian Sea is shown enclosed; the map is centered on Jerusalem, the Red Sea is colored red and the Nile River is typical of the period. There are few illustrations, all of which are in Africa. Africa is terminated in a southeasterndirection such that the Indian Ocean is an open sea. 

Email: jsiebold@me.com© Jim Siebold 2015